Ex-IAF chief S.P. Tyagi sent to CBI custody


New Delhi: A court here on Saturday sent former Indian Air Force (IAF) chief S.P. Tyagi and others to custody of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) till December 14 in the Rs 3,767-crore AgustaWestland helicopter deal case.

Metropolitan Magistrate Sujit Saurabh allowed the CBI to quiz Tyagi, his cousin Sanjeev Tyagi alias Julie Tyagi and Delhi-based lawyer Gautam Khaitan till December 14.

The first chief of any wing of the armed forces to be arrested in the country, the former IAF chief and the others were allegedly involved in irregularities in the procurement of 12 AW-101 VVIP helicopters from Britain-based AgustaWestland.

The probe agency told the court that crucial information was collected from three countries – Italy, Switzerland and Mauritius – via letters rogatory and the accused are required to be confronted with it to unearth the larger conspiracy in the chopper deal case.

While seeking custody of the accused, the CBI told the court that regular meetings were taking place between senior officials of AgustaWestland and S.P. Tyagi with the help of Sanjeev Tyagi.

The CBI has alleged that a conspiracy was hatched to reduce the service ceiling of the helicopters from 6,000 metres to 4,500 metres after which AgustaWestland became eligible to supply a dozen helicopters for VVIP flying duties.

It told the court that the words “at least twin engine” were inserted in the amendment proposal in 2005 for procuring VVIP helicopters to bring AgustaWestland into the eligibility criteria, adding that the changes were made deliberately as AgustaWestland helicopters had three engines and a service ceiling of 4,500 metres.

Claiming innocence in the case, the former IAF chief’s defence counsel, senior advocate N. Hariharan apprised the court that it was a collective decision to procure VVIP helicopters.

Denying the charges, he opposed the request of custodial interrogation, saying that the probe agency had not given any specific and vital point for seeking the remand of the accused.

S.P. Tyagi himself told the court that he started purchasing land from 2002 and if that shows he is corrupt, then he has nothing to say.

His statement came after the CBI said he bought quite a lot of agricultural land for which the source of income is required to be ascertained.

To this, the former IAF chief said he can give all details and was available whenever required and not running away.